MALAYS, The Modern ORANG ASLI of Tanah Melayu
In their effort to question the SPECIAL POSITION OF MALAYS/BUMIPUTRAS as allowed for in our country’s Constitution, certain UNGRATEFUL descendents of former IMMIGRANTS who were granted Malaysian citizenship in early 1950s are trying hard to ‘re-write history’, including trying to paint a picture that the forefathers of Malays were from Indonesia, and that the real ‘bumiputra’ of Malaysia are the ORANG ASLI.
Those with such belief do not realize that the modern nation of Indonesia was part of the MALAY ARCHIPELAGO. When the Malay(Hindu) Kingdom of Langkasuka reigned supreme between 2nd-5th AD, the whole of Malay Archipelago was then subservient to the rulers of Langkasuka. When the Malay(Hindu) Kingdom of Srivijaya centred in Palembang, Sumatra took over the supremacy in 5th-12th centuries, the whole of Tanah Melayu became part of theKingdom. And when the Malay Sultanate of Malacca took over the reign in 13th-15th centuries, most parts of Sumatra were under Malacca.
Lets take the case of the Sumatra Island, which is seperated from West Malaysia, formerly known as Persekutuan Tanah Melayu, by the narrow Straits of Malacca. During the Langkasuka era, Sumatra was part of the Malay Kingdom, like the rest of the Malay Archipelago. And when Sumatra became the home of the Sriwijaya Kingdom, Tanah Melayu became subservient to the Palembang-centred Malay Kingdom. In the same way, Tanah Melayu were related to other Indonesian islands like Kalimantan(which used to be under the Malay Sultanate of brunei), and Sulawesi, and Philipine islands of Mindanao and Sulu, and the Malay-majority enclaves of southern Thailand.
Tanah Melayu and other parts of the MALAY ARCHIPELAGO are very much like GREATER CHINA which brings together Mainland China, Manchuria, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. We seldom, if not never, heard people using terms like Chinese migrated to Taiwan, or Honkies migrated to China, or Manchurians migrated to China, as all of them are Chinese, while Mainland China, Manchuria, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are PART AND PARCEL of what the Europeans term as ‘GREATER CHINA’.
Its a fact that there are Malays whose forefathers were from neighbouring islands within the Malay Archipelago, like Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi in Indonesia, islands of Mindanau and Sulu in the Philipines, and frfom the malay-majority enclaves of southern Thailand. However, the majoriry of Malays are INDIGENOUS to this Tanah Melayu. The forefathers of INDIGENOUS Malays in Tanah Melayu were part of the INDIGENOUS ethnicities which are now called the ‘Orang Asli’ . The term ‘Orang Asli’ is quite recent origin. Previously, the ‘Orang Asli’ were known identified under sub-ethnic groups of as Negritos, Senoi and ‘proto-Malays’. Unlike the the Negritos and the Senois who led ‘normadic’ life in the jungles of Tanah melayu, the ‘proto-Malays’ Orang Asli settled closer to river-mouths and the sea. They were the fore-fathers of Malays who settled down in settlements like Kuala Selangor, Kelang, Kuala Muda, Kota Bharu, Pekan and other such settlements were more exposed to FOREIGN TRADERS .
Their exposures to foreigners, including inter-racial marriages to foreigners like the Arabs and Indians, and to limited extent the Chinese, have brought modernity and advancements to the ‘proto-Malays’ Orang Asli. They have been transformed into a ‘modern’ Malay race, who were sophbisticated enough to become RULERS of different corners of the Malay Archipelago. Their Negritos and Senois counterparts remained in the jungles and never staked claims to be rulers of the region, hence the MALAY SUPREMACY in the region for thousands of years.
The forefathers of the MALAYS were part of the ‘Orang Asli’ fraternity, and hence their SPECIAL POSITION in our Constitution, alongside the other BUMIPUTRAS.